Fiji Sun - - Business - Source : DEPTFO News Feed­back: maraia.vula@fi­

New ex­port path­ways for Fi­jian agriprod­ucts have been es­tab­lished dur­ing the re­cent Fine Food Show held at the Mel­bourne Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre in Aus­tralia.

Aus­tralia is the sec­ond largest im­port­ing coun­try for Fiji’s agri­cul­ture com­modi­ties over the past five years.

Deputy sec­re­tary agri­cul­ture de­vel­op­ment at the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Jone So­valawa, who led the Fi­jian del­e­ga­tion to the event, said de­mand for Fiji’s lo­cal pro­duce con­tin­ued to in­crease an­nu­ally.

“The cur­rent de­mand of Fi­jian prod­ucts con­tin­ues to grow each year and this is linked to the in­creas­ing num­ber of Pa­cific Is­land peo­ple mi­grat­ing to Aus­tralia, as well as tourists who have vis­ited our shores and tasted our food which has con­trib­uted to the in­crease in de­mand,” he said.

“Gov­ern­ment through the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Min­istry of Trade and Tourism is fully sup­port­ive of con­nect­ing lo­cal ex­porters to over­seas mar­kets. Dur­ing the food show, large Aus­tralian dis­trib­u­tors, like ‘Fi­esta In­gre­di­ents,’ showed their in­ter­est in des­ic­cated co­conut from Fiji rather than mass co­conut sup­pli­ers be­cause of the or­ganic na­ture of Fiji’s co­conuts.”

He added that a pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tion of Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to con­nect­ing agro-ex­porters to over­seas mar­kets was the ex­hibitors’ ap­pre­ci­a­tion on be­ing of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to be part of Fiji’s del­e­ga­tion.

There was a large turnout of vis­i­tors at the Fiji booth. Agro mar­ket­ing au­thor­ity sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eroni Qama said there were in­ter­ested buy­ers in­quir­ing to buy frozen taro, cas­sava and vir­gin co­conut oil. Mr Qama said: “Dis­trib­u­tors from key im­port­ing coun­tries were all un­der one roof which made it eas­ier for them to find us and was sim­pler for us too to pro­mote our prod­ucts.”

Or­ganic co­conut oil mak­ers Bula Batiki rep­re­sen­ta­tive Callum Drum­mond was grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity for a small is­land like Batiki to tell their story on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

“With new con­nec­tions formed at this event, Bula Batiki is hope­ful to ex­port to the Aus­tralian, New Zealand and US mar­kets and through meet­ing in­ter­ested buy­ers, we hope to in­crease our sales to Aus­tralia,” he said.

“I am thank­ful for the sup­port by the Fi­jian Gov­ern­ment which al­lowed this unique op­por­tu­nity for us to show­case our prod­ucts and to lift the rep­u­ta­tion of a re­mote is­land com­mu­nity, cer­tainly it’s go­ing to boost agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion in the mar­itime is­lands whether it’s vir­gin co­conut oil, cocoa, turmeric, cin­na­mon or vanilla.”

Nadi-based Adi Choco­late (Fi­jian Ca­cao) di­rec­tor, To­mo­hito Zukoshi said the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and in­ter­ac­tion with in­ter­na­tional buy­ers dur­ing the food show was valu­able for lo­cal ex­porters. “I have been ex­posed to new prod­uct ideas and have also learnt some of the lat­est tech­nolo­gies not only lim­ited to choco­late but other new in­no­va­tive ideas which I have been for­tu­nate to have been a part of,” said Mr Zukoshi.

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